It’s sort of a new twist to an old scam.
Remember when it was common hearing of some people printing counterfeit money with a laser or inkjet printer?
Now, someone is printing bogus cashier’s checks with unsuspecting victims’ information from their personal checks.
A Murfreesboro IT specialist, who takes all the precautions to protect her information, is one of the latest victims.
Michelle Smith checks her bank account every day like clockwork, but recently she noticed the account was tens of thousands of dollars short.
“I was terrified,” Smith said. “I actually could feel my heart rate increase. I was extremely worried.”
Worried because someone had cashed a $23,000 cashier’s check on her account that she did not authorize.
“My immediate thought was it either had to be a mistake or fraudulent because I had not written a $23,000 check,” Smith said.
She immediately called the bank who verified the cashier’s check was counterfeit.
“We live in a world where a lot of information is out on the internet, the victim said. “So, my immediate concern was, am I protected elsewhere? What else I need to lock down?”
That’s why she checked her account again to make sure.
“The same day, there was another one for $10,000 that came out of my account,” Smith told News 2.
Smith said she does everything possible to protect her personal information and for good reason, she works in IT for one of the world’s largest tech companies.
“I see all kinds of things in respect to the internet; spoofing, phishing and breaking in with passwords.”
But the counterfeit cashier’s check was new to her.
“That someone would be actually creating counterfeit cashier’s checks out of their office or garage could possibly take a check I had written and use the information against my account to write these types of checks is just frightening,” Smith said.
It can happen to anyone who writes checks.
“It makes me not want to write checks anymore,” Smith said.
Smith said fraud investigators told her the scammer used one of the counterfeit checks to purchase a motorcycle from a person advertising on Craigslist.
The seller cashed the check, but later found out it was fraudulent.
“The motorcycle was gone, was taken by the bad actor, and the person who sold it got nothing,” Smith said.
Now, she is warning others who write checks.
“I would say number one when you write checks, make sure you’re writing them to individuals you know, like family, friends,” Smith said. “If you haven’t done previous business with say a company, I would use a credit card which is limited liability by law. Secondly, if you were to receive a cashier’s check, take it immediately to the bank and have it checked out by an expert because most people – that’s an esoteric business. I wouldn’t know a counterfeit check if I saw one, but a banker definitely would.”
Since Smith’s bank was able to verify the checks were counterfeit, they refunded $33,000 to her account.
If you are a victim of a counterfeit check scam, call your local police.